SEPTEMBER 22 Thursday
CREATIVE SAMPLER ¡Viva la Frida! Café y Galeria is one of Tampa's most diverse establishments, a Mexican restaurant that draws an eclectic crowd of bohemians and culture seekers with its penchant for hosting appealing exhibits and arts-oriented events. Tonight, the café welcomes visual and performing artists from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County's Artist Advisory Committee, who reveal their distinctive talents at TAPAS, a Tampa Area Performance Art Sampler. The first in a series of events celebrating visual arts, music, dance and poetry, TAPAS features the artwork of locals John Henne, Candace Knapp, Michael Parker and Peg Trezevant, and works by photographer (and frequent Planet contributor) Lori Ballard. The performance program spotlights choreographers Susan Taylor Lennon and Cynthia Hennessy, dancer Gayle Deal, poet Gianna Russo, director Charles Grimes and cellist James Connors. 7 p.m. $5 donation. 5901 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-231-9199.
A GATHERING OF IDEAS USF's School of Theatre and Dance stages Omnium Gatherum, Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Theresa Rebeck's drama that deals with the aftermath of 9/11. The setting is a dinner party, at which eight very different guests address a variety of issues. Each character has strong opinions about the right and wrong way to look at any given subject, from food and Star Trek, to capitalism, terrorism and morality. Although Omnium Gatherum has no actual plot, and is more a character study via an assortment of conversations and interactions than anything else, it does manage to raise questions about life post-9/11. Directed by USF faculty member David Mann. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Sept. 22-Oct. 2. $12 adults/$6 seniors and students. Theatre Center, Studio 120, USF-Tampa, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-974-2323.
SEPTEMBER 23 Friday
BLUES FUSER Singer-songwriter Corey Harris made his musical debut in 1995 with Between Midnight and Day, a collection of stripped-down, rural blues numbers punctuated by his soulful baritone. Since then, Harris has explored a range of other styles and textures, his music becoming more of a reflection of his varied influences and experiences. From the African rhythms, Delta blues and New Orleans ragtime of 1999's Greens from the Garden, to this year's island-flavored, politically charged Daily Bread, Harris has succeeded in embracing an ever-widening circle of black musical vibrations and genres. He's also served as the guide for a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary from the PBS series, The Blues; teamed up with New Orleans pianist/vocalist/songwriter Henry Butler for the album vu-du Menz; and appeared at events ranging from Bonnaroo to the Montreux Jazz Festival. He and his three-piece outfit perform tonight at Java Junction with special guest Ray Bonneville. 8 p.m. $10. 705 Franklin St., Clearwater, 727-799-1100.
MODERN GRAVITY Moving Current Dance Collective, the Bay area's group of illustrious contemporary dance artists, has managed to garner a rather respectable following in its eight years of existence by presenting new and innovative works to the dance-loving public. The collective opens its fall season with Gravity Abandoned, a show of aerial movements and contemporary dance featuring Moving Current founders Cynthia Hennessy and Erin Cardinal, as well as guests Nathan Dryden, an aerialist and choreographer from Arizona; Michael Foley, an international choreographer, dancer and visiting USF professor; and Collette Harding, a San Diego dance company director and USF alumna. 8 p.m. Fri., 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 23-24. $15 general/$10 seniors and students with I.D. USF College of Visual and Performing Arts Theater II, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-237-0216, www.movingcurrent.com.
SEPTEMBER 24 Saturday
GREAT BALLROOM OF FIRE If you're unable (or unwilling) to appreciate modern dance, but find yourself oddly drawn to movies like Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance?, you might be interested in this weekend's Fire & Ice ballroom dance events. The excitement begins at the Wyndham Harbour Island Hotel with a full day of competitions featuring national and international talents. Afterward, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center hosts the Fire & Ice Dance Spectacular, which consists of competitions and performances by professional ballroom dancers, like current Canadian International Latin Dance champions Andre and Natale Paramonou, as well as a special appearance by ABC's Dancing with the Stars ballroom diva, Charlotte Jorgenson (aka, the lady who helped Seinfeld's John O. Hurley re-discover his hips). For a complete schedule of dance events, visit www.fireandiceball.com. Competitions occur from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 725 S. Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa; the dance spectacular begins at 8 p.m. in Carol Morsani Hall at TBPAC, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets are $25-$50; to reserve yours, call 813-229-7827 or visit www.tbpac.org.
TUG OF WAR Over 1,400 soldiers have been killed in the war in Iraq, and with no exit strategy in sight, these numbers will only increase. Today, thousands of folks unite in Washington, D.C., to march in protest. Across the country, groups that can't make the journey have organized local demonstrations and rallies to show solidarity. St. Petersburg is the setting for one such event: March on Washington-Tampa Bay. This anti-war gathering features keynote speaker Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst who served seven presidents during his 27-year career and co-founder of the anti-war group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. There's also free vegetarian food, live music and talks by local speakers. A coalition of more than 20 activist groups will have information booths on hand, and various goods (nonperishable food, water, first aid supplies) will be collected for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The rally concludes with a short march through downtown St. Petersburg. 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Williams Park, Fourth Street N. and Second Avenue N., downtown St. Petersburg, www.marchonwashingtontampabay.org.
CHEERS! If you haven't already noticed by its bulk, the paper you're currently holding in your grubby little hands is our most anticipated issue of the year, a guide to the best everything that the Bay area has to offer, selected by our pundits as well as our readers. To celebrate the grand occasion, Weekly Planet hosts our biggest throwdown yet — the Best of the Bay Beer Fest. That's right folks, our biggest party of the year is open to the general public and for a semi-nominal fee, you, too, can hang out by the fountain in Old Hyde Park Village, sample a vast (95-plus) array of beers (including our own special draft, Weekly World Brews) and enjoy eats by some great local restaurants. If you're worried about having to drive, a HARTline trolley runs from downtown and Harbour Island every 15 minutes. 6-9 p.m. $15 in advance/$20 at the event (cash only). Old Hyde park Village, Swann and Dakota avenues, Tampa.
SEPTEMBER 25 Sunday
A STREETCAR IN ST. PETE He stands at the bottom of the stairs, his body humming with emotional tension, his face a study in misery. He screams, "Hey, Stellllaaaaaaa!!!!!!" A loud and brutish plea of despair. He knows he's done wrong but has little or no idea how to apologize like a normal human being. Yet, his remorse is so sincere, so painful, that you can almost believe he regrets hitting his pregnant wife, that he truly seeks forgiveness, that maybe he even deserves it. This classic scene and others from Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire are acted out in a theatrical reading/benefit presented by American Stage tonight. An art auction, which includes one-of-a-kind photos of Jon Voight and Hersha Parady from the 1973 Studio Arena Streetcar production, occurs one hour prior; all proceeds from the auction and ticket sales support the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief effort. 7 p.m. $25 minimum donation. 211 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-823-7529, www.americanstage.org.